Olympic bronze medalist figure skater Denis Ten died in Kazakhstan after being stabbed with a knife by robbers. The 25 year-old Kazakh skater reportedly lost three liters of blood from the stabbing and died in the hospital on Thursday, July 19, in spite of resuscitation attempts.
The robbery apparently took place in the city of Almaty, when two men tried to steal mirrors from Ten’s car. Ten got into an argument with them, which quickly turned into an altercation in which the Olympic athlete received an unknown number of knife wounds. Ten was found unconscious on the street, and eventually died after surgery.
The official Kazakh police report of the incident states, “Denis Yurevich Ten spotted two unknown men who tried to steal mirrors from his car. In a brawl which took place at the scene Ten was wounded with a knife. The incident is being investigated by police, all members of Almaty’s department of internal affairs are involved in the operation aimed at identifying and detaining the criminals.”
According to ESPN, prosecutors are treating this case as a murder.
Ten was born in Kazakhstan, and is of Korean descent. His Olympic debut took place in Vancouver in 2010, but he first won bronze at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He was the first Olympic medalist for figure skating in his country’s history. in 2015, Ten won four additional Continent Championships. Prior to the Olympics, he was a silver medalist for the World Championship in 2013, as well.
However, Ten’s multiple ankle, hip, and back injuries made it difficult for him to compete in recent years, and he ended up in 27th place for the Olympics in Pyeongchang in 2018.
Of his frustrating conclusion, Ten said to reporters at the time, “Everyday I fell asleep in pain, but I would wake up with the hope that it is a day of new achievements, a new fight. Unfortunately these hopes did not fulfill themselves today.”
Fellow figure skater Adam Rippon posted a tribute to Ten on Twitter, early Thursday morning. He said, “My skating friend,
@Tenis_Den, passed away today. He was so kind to everyone and a huge inspiration to me and so many other people. Murdered in the streets of Kazakhstan. Denis, thank you for showing us how to be a champion. Your time with us was way too short. Love you forever.”
Kazakhstan’s minister of culture and sport, Arystanbek Mukhamediuly, said, “Denis Ten was an incredible figure skater, the legend of our sport, our pride. This is an unthinkable tragedy and irreparable loss.”
Of Ten’s talent, choreographer Lori Nichol said of working with him in 2015, “The way his blade touches the ice and the way he moves his body through space on the ice is highly individual. And his passion is not just throwaway passion. It’s this really deep, profound passion, and when he lets it out, I’ve been reduced to tears in practice sometimes because, oh my God, I get blown away. I’ve worked at a high level and never seen anyone like it.”
Of Ten’s death, the International Skating Union released a statement on Twitter: “The ISU is deeply saddened by the news from media in Kazakhstan announcing the passing of Figure Skater Denis Ten. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Denis’ family, friends and fans across the world.”